Tucked behind a bus stop on the high street in Dorchester Dorset, you’d be forgiven for thinking Sienna was a launderette. We found the outside and possibly the decor inside to be very unassuming as the food served here is absolutely delicious. Seating just 14 people this is definitely the smallest Michelin starred restaurant we’ve ever been to.
We arrived for lunch with just one other couple in the dining room. It was a little bit awkward but some lovely muzak in the background made sure the ambience wasn’t like a funeral.
Husband and wife team run Sienna. Elena Brown who runs the front of house – alone – knows what she’s doing and does so with charm and warmth. She made us feel at ease and I would defy anyone who said they didn’t take a shine to her.
In the kitchen chef Russell Brown cooks very delicious food. The set lunch menu is three courses for £28.50 with three dishes per course to choose from. Beautifully cooked homemade breads and three canopes start things off. A goats cheese truffle was very tasty and the little chorizo tart was warm and the pastry cooked perfectly. The third was just a little dish of salted nuts which we found an odd choice and a little disappointing.
Our starter of panfried fillet of turbot with spring onion mash and orange butter sauce was faultless. The turbot was cooked perfectly and the mash was buttery and totally lump free. The orange butter sauce had that hint of orange but didn’t overpower the fish. I have mouth watering dreams about this dish.
Our main course of chargrilled rump of Jurassic Coast rose veal with parsley dumplings, spring vegetables and veal jus was a simple dish. The spring vegetables were a little too raw for us but the veal was tender and had a lovely smokiness from being chargrilled which was great. The dumplings were well made and a nice addition.
My dessert of bitter chocolate brownie, white chocolate bavarois (a posh mousse) and dark hot chocolate definitely quashed my chocolate craving. The little glass of hot chocolate was so rich and sumptuous I could have drunk pints of the stuff. The brownie could have been slightly more gooey but was good enough.
My gentleman companion’s baked lemon, ricotta and sultana cheesecake with stem ginger ice cream looked pretty and tasted lovely. The crunch from the biscuit base contrasted perfectly with the rich filling. As it was a generous portion the filling could have been slightly lighter but that didn’t stop him devouring the whole thing.
My only criticism would be that the lovely Elena didn’t describe the dishes to us and I feel at Michelin level it’s really important. Firstly so I know what everything is on the plate and secondly because I forget what I ordered.
Three lovely petit fours accompanied our coffee (£3.50) – the little meringue filled with cream and diced strawberries being a favourite.
This little restaurant is quaint, charming and fully deserving of its Michelin star. The food is fantastic value and the drinks are even better. We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Sienna and will gladly return – we’d be mad not to.